What is "Mommy Guilt"? It's when you are judged by others for the way you are parenting your child. I remember having this experience as soon as I knew I was pregnant with my daughter.
I was judged as a single parent.
I was judged as a working mother.
I was judged when she couldn't use scissors at age 2.
I was judged when she drew outside the lines at 18 months.
I was judged when I didn't remarry to give her a father.
I was judged when I let her rock climb at age 7 (with a professional climbing instructor mind you).
I was judged when I gave her a horse at age 10.
I was judged when I let her travel at 15 to Europe with a group of strangers (Educators and honorees of People to People (https://www.peopletopeople.com).
I was judged for paying for her college degree, giving her a truck at 16, and basically doing anything anyone else deemed unsafe, unwise, or unfair.
At work I was shamed because my child was not "issued" to me by the department and therefor not their problem if I couldn't find daycare, had a sick child, or a family emergency.
I was judged more times then I can count for teaching my daughter to think independently, purposefully giving her all the wisdom I could give her, and teaching her to follow her dreams. I still am judged, but now as a grandmother.
Do you ever feel judged? Do you let other people's comments, criticisms, or put-downs effect your day, your week, your year? Recently, I was listening to an audio book from Rachel Hollis called, "Girl, Stop Apologizing." My first impression was that she sounded very angry. Then I finished the book and wish I had heard it when I was a new mom struggling with being judged. I was angry at the false accusations of others and even though I stood up against the judgments to do what I thought was best for my daughter and me, I still felt sad that I didn't measure up, wasn't good enough, and didn't follow traditional roles. If I had met Rachel back then, I would have been one of her many thousand followers who raise a fist in defiance of other people's judgments.
The Bible says that God created us in his image (Genesis 1:27), that he knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7), and that he created us to be wonderful (Psalm 139:14). It says that "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). We are not to live in fear of other's condemnations but to know and live in the truth that we are amazing mirrors reflecting the love of our creator.
Other people don't define me or my life and they certainly don't live it. I determine who I will be; and who I want to be is the best me I can be: flawed, broken, and full of love to give to my family and friends, my colleagues, and coworkers, to my passions, my purpose, and mostly to my God. Be who you were meant to be: wonderfully made.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."